What makes google successful?
One of the largest and most successful companies ever to exist. And also one of the most quirky. What makes Google so different from other tech companies?
Here’s one: They use data to validate what they know.
Sometimes testing what you know can be more important than what you don’t know. Once upon a time, Google set out to define the ideal characteristics of a boss. They’d done some research and realized that the bosses that performed the best were not only more productive themselves, but made their team more productive… by more than TWO TIMES vs. lesser managers, in fact! These bosses were, in effect, multipliers, increasing the productivity of their whole team by virtue of managerial adeptness.
Now when Google began this research, they weren’t looking to upset the whole management industry. On the other hand, they weren’t averse to it. But they wanted to test it anyway.
Do you know what the ideal qualities of the super-boss were?
1) Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
2) Be consistent
3) Help your team with career development
4) Be productive and results oriented
But you know what happened?
In validating what they thought they knew, Google also ruled out the other hypotheses they’d come up with, like “you need to be technical” or “you need to have an Einstein IQ” that were really distractions.
The power of so deeply embedding data into the very fabric of your company is that you are not afraid to ask the obvious questions. Sometimes you will get obvious answers, and sometimes you will find the unexpected. But validating what you think you know can allow you to eliminate distractions so that you can focus on what matters.
In Google’s case, they were able to focus on these findings to achieve a statistically significant improvement for 75% of their lower performing managers. And when you consider a bad manager can actually diminish the productivity of his team by 50%, this means a dramatic improvement in the overall organization.
Not bad for something everyone took for granted already.